Empower your Community

Community empowerment is not only important for an equitable society, it is essential to building stronger economies, achieve agreed-upon development goals, and improve the quality of life of women, men, and families. A variety of organizations and individuals already recognize that a sustainable community cannot be achieved by any one group alone yet there is a challenge of how to bring diverse groups and businesses together. The “Castle on 1st” is one such community space working towards overcoming this obstacle.

“The Castle” was originally constructed as a warehouse in 1910 for the Coal Creek mine which closed in 1958 and sat vacant until acquired by Pete Reizevort. Pete later sold to Heiko and Linda Socher who finished the project to the present day “Castle on 1st”. After several years of being unoccupied the Socher’s met with Marlene Vale, local Fernie resident, who suggested a new paradigm of leadership.

Marlene challenges the prevailing model of top-down leadership and endeavours to shift towards a collaborative model where mentoring, nurturing, and relationship building is enhanced to create empowerment and sustainability. Marlene explains, “The Castle on First is a collaboration of many like-minded individuals who believe that our impact on the health and well-being of the community will be enhanced and magnified in a supportive, mentoring partnership where these individuals are given the opportunity for professional and personal empowerment.”

The Castle provides space for small businesses to rent on an hourly or daily basis at a very affordable rate. Each individual or group is responsible for the success of their own business without having the stress of high lease space, managing staff, and working more than full-time. Each business works independently but supports each other collectively through cross-promotion, mentoring and referrals. Marlene understands the result is a positive change in the lives of our collaborators, thus creating a ripple effect into the community of Fernie. Her work inspires people to inspire themselves which then in turn inspires others.

So, what can you expect to see if you come to the Castle? The Castle celebrates all forms of movement art. The opportunity to physically express oneself can be the catalyst for spiritual, mental, and emotional healing, and growth. Yoga classes such as Iyengar, Hatha, Adaptive, Kids, Teen, and Vinyasa are currently on the schedule. A new branch of yoga: Yogadance was also successfully launched and will rebirth again come fall. Other forms of body movement include: Latin dance and ballet conditioning with burlesque and hip-hop being added soon. Eastern philosophy and movement such as Tai Chi and Primordial Sound Meditation will awaken the deeper, subtle body while exploring profound energy vibrations. Ideas for future programming include; group athletic therapy, summer camps for kids, music, writing, soul sessions, business networking and Find Your Voice for Girls (initiating programming for Fernie’s next generation of empowered leaders and thinkers). A boutique in the Moon Studio has taken community empowerment to an international level. Uranta clothing dedicates itself to the promotion and support of women in Mexico, empowering them financially and emotionally with production and distribution of beautifully crafted yoga clothing while upholding environmentally conscious business practices.

After a few short months the ripple effect is already happening. It began with the big-hearted souls of Heiko and Linda opening the doors of the Castle to Marlene Vale. She ‘pays it forward’ by creating an affordable space to rent for businesses, who then gather in others to grow both collectively and individually. As a team, the Castle is ready to write a new narrative, each as business leaders and at the same time co-workers/collaborators/visionaries in the field of health and well-being promotion.

The Castle invites all ideas which share it’s vision of health and well-being in Fernie. For the full schedule check out the Castle website at: www.thecastleonfirst.com. If you wish to book an appointment for rental possibility contact Marlene at: marlenevaleyoga.com.

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